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FIRST HALF OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY   375

in 1781, and Thomas James, who made Rugby a great and worthy
school during the years from 1778 to 1794 in which he was
headma'ster.   Thomas Arnold (1795-1842), entering into their
labours with all the help that came from a general desire for
reform, was able to create a new spirit in the old Public Schools
and kindred grammar schools in the course of his fourteen years'
headmastership of Rugby.   Arnold was not a man of any great
originality:   his strength was the strength of character and
insight.   He himself had been educated at Winchester and at
Oxford, and in the main he accepted the system in which he had
Been brought up.   He was not blind to its defects by any means.
He recognized the harm that might be done by taking boys from
their homes and congregating them in boarding schools at an age
when all kinds of temptations were peculiarly strong.   But the
system was there and it was his business to make the best of it;
and this he was the more ready to attempt because he had a pro-
found faith in the moulding power of a great school tradition when
properly directed.   The chief need of a school like Rugby, it
seemed to him, was a healthy moral and religious atmosphere, and
for this he looked in the first instance to the personality of the
teachers.   Headmaster and assistants, he insisted, must be left
free to do their work, without interference from governors or
boards,  within the sphere assigned to them*    Scarcely  less
important than the influence of the teacher, he thought, was the
tone of the school community, such as could best be got by
entrusting the government of the school (so far as possible) to
the older boys whose work brings them in daily contact with the
headmaster himself, and by purging the school of all undesirable
pupils by timely expulsion.   For intellectual stimulus he looked
mainly to the classics.    " Expel Greek and Latin from your
schools/* he says in giving an account of his school in the Journal
of Education in 1834, " and you confine the views of the existing
generation to themselves and their immediate predecessors, you
will cut off so many centuries of the world's experience, and
place us in the same state as if the human race had come into
existence in the year 1500,   Aristotle and Plato and Thucydides
and Cicero and Tacitus are most untruly called ancient writers.
They are our own countrymen and contemporaries, but have the
advantage which is enjoyed by intelligent travellers, that their
observation has been exercised in a field out of reach of common